Need a rise
I'm a newby to baking, but am a rustic chef/painter/artist by nature. I'm trying to make a good sourdough bread - but just can't get there. Here's the deal....
I made a new starter 2 weeks ago which I discard/use and refeed every 2 days. When refed, it bubbles furiously and doubles within 1-2 hours. It also has a wonderful aroma (I live in the SF Bay Area) and tang!
But when I make my bread (using good artisan recipes), it never gets the rise I want/need, ends up very VERY dense, flattens out, and sometimes doesn't cook enough in the bottom middle. The crust is beautiful, the outside rims are delicious, but a bit dense. I think the problem is in the flour & technique (not the starter), but I need some help/input.
The last recipe I used came out the same. The dough, when I was mixing, was awfully stiocky & gooey. So gooey/soupy, you basically couldn't handle it. I slowly added the rest of the flour in the recipe until it was handle-able. But then while kneading, I added more flour (from the table top) just to keep the dough a bit more dry. This seems to happen with each batch I make - UGH!!
Should the dough be a sticky gooey mess? If it is, will kneading it (and resting it) bring it together without adding more flour? Doesn't the dough need to be elastic on the outside in order to hold shape while proofing?
I have noticed that if I let the dough rise too long, or proof too long, I lose the dough (it reverts to goo). So I know I've got some playing to do with time. But I think the main thing is the flour - or over use of it. Help?!?